Address Keys: 5 Data Management Uses and How to Choose One

Andrew Townsend
Andrew Townsend
August 29, 2023
Address Keys: 5 Data Management Uses and How to Choose One

Address keys can be used to improve data blending, update and enrich addresses, reduce data processing time, and protect personally identifiable information. In this webinar, we brought in our product marketing manager John Hickey to teach about what they are, how they work, why they're crucial for data management, the different types available, what to look for in one, and what to avoid.

Ultimately, John pointed out five primary uses for address keys:
1. Update Address Changes

2. Simplify Data Blending

3. Reduce Processing Time

4. Protect Personally Identifiable information (PII)

5. Enhance Property Data

In this recap, we'll go over these, but if you'd like to watch the full webinar recording you can do so below.

1 Update Address Changes

Addresses change way more often than you'd think. Hundreds of thousands of addresses change every year in the U.S. alone. Street numbers change to help first responders, to reflect changes in attitudes, or because the street names are very difficult to use or say.

Zip Codes change also, especially the ZIP+4 depending on the delivery route.

If you use an address key like SmartyKey™ then no matter how an address changes, your database will not be affected and will still be trustworthy.

2 Simplify Data Blending

Merging address databases is not unheard of. In fact, it's one of the primary reasons people require address standardization when considering address validation tools.

In the example John shared, you can see how two addresses that are similar can be normalized, standardized, and verified thanks to an address key.

3 Reduce Processing Time

Having to store addresses, or even large address keys can cause a problem when it comes to data storage and data processing. One software engineer reported that using a compact address key like SmartyKey saved them up to 20 hours each blending period.

For an example John showed how a Google Place ID could take up to 86 bytes of storage, while a compact integer address key would only take up 10 bytes. Talk about data savings!

4 Protect PII

There are several reasons why address keys make your address data safer for you and your contacts. For every piece of PII you have, you increase your chances of liability. You can learn more about this here.

There are several benefits to using an address key when it comes to PII.

  • Randomly generated keys can't be reverse-engineered
  • When sharing data you can replace the address with the key
  • You can combine another piece of PII to an address key without increasing risk

5 Enhance Property Data

Address validators may offer property data enrichment, and having an address key makes appending information to your database a snap.

It's of value to note that enriched property data is typically public information and does not count as additional PII.

Having additional data points improves business intelligence and helps with analysis and decision-making. One example would be when working in insurance or real estate.

SmartyKey Access

You can get access to Smarty's premium address key in several of our products. 

US Master Address List

US Rooftop Geocoding

If you'd like to view the full recording, you can do so here.

Learn from our expert! Join the webinar with John Hickey to understand address keys' role in data enhancement, protection, and efficient management.


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